The frenulum is the tissue that lies behind your upper lips. These membranes can prevent your upper lip from moving free if they are too thick or stiff, known as a lip tie.

Although lip ties are not as well-studied as tongue ties in terms of their effects on babies, they are similar treatments for tongue ties and lip ties. In addition, lip ties can make it difficult to breastfeed and, in some cases, may cause problems with weight gain.

Lip ties are more common than tongue ties, a related condition. Therefore, it is possible to assume that tongue and lip ties are genetic.

Their pediatrician recommends that lip tying is not dangerous if babies gain weight. It is elementary to fix a lip tie once it has been diagnosed.

Lip tie symptoms

Trouble breastfeeding may signify that your child has a lip or tongue tie. These are the symptoms:

  • Having trouble securing your breasts
  • Having difficulty breathing while you are eating
  • Nursing: Making a clicking sound
  • falling asleep often during nursing
  • Nursing can make you feel exhausted
  • Slow weight gain or insufficient weight gain

You may feel the following symptoms if your child has lip tie or you are a breastfeeding mom:

  • Pain during and after breastfeeding
  • Breasts that feel full even after nursing
  • Blockage of milk ducts and mastitis
  • Even though your baby is never complete, you may feel tired from nursing.

Lip tie complications

Babies with severe tongues or lip ties can have difficulty gaining weight. If your baby needs more nutrition, you may be able to supplement breast milk with formula or breastmilk from a bottle.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, babies with severe tongue or lip ties can have trouble eating from a spoon or finger food.

Later in life, lip ties are less common. However, some pediatricians say untreated lip ties can cause tooth decay in toddlers.

Lip tie vs. labial frenulum

A maxillary labial or lip frenulum is the tissue in your upper lip that connects to your gums. It can restrict your lip movement if it is too short. This process is known as a lip tie.

This tissue is composed of the connective and mucous membrane. It is found in your mouth naturally to help keep your lips stable and healthy as your face bones change. This tissue also keeps your lips stable, so you don’t have to suck.

The tissue is present at birth in babies and can be very obvious. The lip frenulum can change as your baby grows and new teeth become available.

There are four types of lip attachments.

Mucosal is the type where tissue is attached at the junction of your gums, known as the mucogingival intersection.

Gingival. This frenulum occurs when the tissue is attached further down into your gums.

Papillary. When tissue attaches to the gums between the front teeth, it is called a papillary lip frenulum, or interdental papilla.

Papilla perforating. This type is found between your teeth but crosses the bone and extends back into the palate.

Understanding Lip Ties

It can be challenging to diagnose a lip tie because these attachments will change with your baby’s growth. A lip frenulum is a sign that your baby has a lip tie, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a lip frenulum.

A lip tie can be diagnosed in babies only if the tight attachment restricts lip movement.

It is most commonly used to refer to a baby having difficulty breastfeeding. However, this definition is not universal. For example, while releasing a tongue tie can help your baby breastfeed better, there’s no evidence to support this. In addition, although there have been many lip tie revisions, a tightening lip frenulum is rare.

Some studies show it does not have any effect. However, another study suggests it could cause issues with latch or seal during breastfeeding. This problem could lead to reflux.

Although a lip tie can affect your gums and teeth, the research is inconsistent. More severe attachments can cause more problems.

What causes a lip tie?

Standard lip attachments are not uncommon. However, some conditions may be more likely than others to experience unusual lip attachments. These are:

  • Infantile hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis
  • Holoprosencephaly
  • Ellis-van Creveld syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Oro-facial-digital syndrome

These inherited conditions can cause bones, connective tissue, and muscle problems.

It is not clear why lip ties occur without any other medical conditions.

The Signs and Symptoms Of A Lip Tie

A tight lip connection could be a sign of a lip tie. A close lip attachment is the most obvious sign. Other symptoms your baby might have a lip tie include:

  • Slow weight gain
  • Reflux causes too much air.
  • Irritability
  • Long meals
  • While feeding, clicking or smacking sounds make
  • Milk leaking from the mouth during breastfeeding

You might experience pain while breastfeeding a baby who has a lip tie. It could happen because your baby is having trouble getting enough milk.

A tight or rigid attachment is another sign of a lip tie, especially in older children and adults. You may also notice:

  • There should be a space between your front and back teeth
  • Loss of gum between your tooth and the root
  • Receding gums
  • Problems brushing your teeth
  • Cavities
  • Missing teeth

How to Diagnose a Lip Tie

To check for abnormal lip attachments or lip movement, your doctor might perform a physical exam of your baby’s mouth. Your doctor might also observe your breastfeeding to check for abnormalities and see how your baby suckers.

Your dentist or orthodontist might diagnose it in a dental examination. The procedure involves pulling on the attachment to check if the papilla (or the gum between the teeth) moves or turns white.

The takeaway

Lip ties can make breastfeeding difficult and cause weight gain problems in newborns. However, it is easy to identify and treat this condition with the help of your pediatrician or lactation consultant.

Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to be uncomfortable or cause pain. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns about breastfeeding or your child’s weight gain.


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